Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trying out Big Stitch Quilting

Yesterday I sandwiched and pinned the giant hexie quilt, and marked a big Baptist Fan quilt design over all.  Began big stitch quilting (for the first time) last night.  I'm loving the result!  It's quicker and easier than regular hand quilting, even doing one stitch at a time rather than attempting to rock the needle. Here's what I have completed so far:
I'm using DMC Pearl Cotton #8 and a Fons and Porter utility quilting needle for this first attempt.

I wondered if doing the larger stitching would affect my regular hand quilting stitch size, but I've been switching back and forth between the two quilts currently hooped, and am not finding any change in my normal hand quilting stitches so far.

So, I'm wondering, if you do big stitch hand quilting, what have you found to be an ideal stitch size as far as ease of stitching, overall appearance, and longevity of your finished item?  I'm finding that about 6 stitches per inch is quite easy for me to do, and the stitches don't look as if they will snag on little toes or other items. I'm hoping this will be durable for a young child's bed and heavy use.

My other question concerns the pearl cotton.  I'm finding that the thread seems to be untwisting the plies as I stitch along and the unknotted end is unravelled before I've stitched along more than 12 inches or so.  I've tried knotting the cut end as well as the lead end of thread and find it doesn't seem to make much difference.  Is this a characteristic of pearl cotton due to a looser twisting of the plies or ??  This inquiring mind would like to know.
The three youngest grands will be here for the weekend so today I'm spending my time making the sewing room toddler and preschooler-proof.  Not much quilting to be accomplished in the next few days but lots of hugging and chasing!  A grandma's happy time!


  1. That looks fabulous.

    We have grandchildren too. Ours will be here until Tuesday. Enjoy your time with them.

  2. I really like the look of the big stitching and the fan design is a good one to use. I'm actually planning on doing the same thing with the same design as my next project. Great minds! I do find DMC tends to untwist a bit more. Recently I've been using Aurfil's #12. It's worked well for me.

  3. It does untwist a bit but I just make sure and cut it off well before it's truly unraveling. You're getting lots more stitches to the inch than I! My average is about three.:) Love the look of what you're doing. Gotta be careful with the Perle Cotton. It can be addictive!

  4. First....your quilting is beautiful beyond belief! Perfectly matched hand stitches are such a joy to see.
    I have used pearl cotton back years ago when I did a lot of crazy quilting...before my fingers knotted up. The pearl cotton is not as strong as quilting thread and frays because of the looser twist. That is why they say to only use about 16" at a time.
    I do have a small quilt that was well loved and used and washed. Sadly the pearl cotton has worn and the stitches---blanket stitches over appliques----have begun to disintegrate. I can't say if your running stitch will hold up for endurance either.

  5. It looks great. Someone else was doing big stitch quilting this morning. I like the look of it.

  6. It looks lovely! And the stitches don't look very big to me. Since I don't do hand quilting, I don't have anything to say about your questions, but it seems you have already gotten some answers. Your quilting is perfect as usual.

  7. I've never done any big stitch quilting, but I am really like what I see on yours! Well done.

  8. My perle #8 thread doesn't ravel or untwist. I'm no expert but I think maybe a larger eyed needle would help? I use embroidery size 4 needle. I get about 5-6 stitches per inch. All my big stitched quilts have held up very well with lots of use. Lovely quilt, by the way!


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